Group Renault, arguably the European leader in electric vehicles, is beginning the first large-scale pilot in reversible electric charging. Renault’s alternating-current technology has the reversible charger inside vehicles, so it just requires “a simple, inexpensive adaptation of the existing charging terminals.”
A fleet of fifteen Zoe vehicles with vehicle-to-grid charging will be introduced in Europe in 2019 to develop future offerings in reversible charging and lay the groundwork for future standards.
These pilot schemes begin today in Utrecht (the Netherlands) in an ecosystem developed by We Drive Solar and on Porto Santo Island (in the archipelago of Madeira, Portugal) with Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira, an energy supplier. Following these, more pilot schemes will be introduced in France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark.
“Vehicle-to-grid charging is a key pillar of the smart electric ecosystems that Groupe Renault has set up. We have chosen onboard technology that also optimizes the cost of recharging stations and thus facilitate a large-scale development.” Said Gilles Normand, Groupe Renault’s director of electric vehicles.
Vehicle-to-grid charging, aka called reversible charging, modulates the charging and discharging of electric-vehicle batteries in accordance with users’ needs and the grid’s supply of available electricity. Charging reaches its maximum level when the electricity supply exceeds demand, notably during peaks in production of renewable energy. But vehicles are also capable of injecting electricity into the grid during peaks in consumption.
Electric vehicles can therefore serve units of temporary energy storage and help in the development of renewable energy. In this way, the electricity grid optimizes the supply of local renewable energy and reduces infrastructure costs. At the same time, customers enjoy greener, more economical consumption of electricity and are – in theory before governments see tax revenue opportunities – financially rewarded for serving the electricity grid.
Reversible charging will be piloted in several projects through seven countries and alongside various partners to lay the groundwork for Groupe Renault’s future offering. The aim is twofold: to measure large-scale feasibility and potential gains.
Renault says these pilot schemes will:
- Underline the technical and economic advantages of an onboard solution in electric vehicles
- Demonstrate the value of services provided for the local and national electricity grid, such as encouraging consumption of solar and wind energy, checking the grid’s frequency or tension, and reducing infrastructure costs
- Work on the regulatory frameworks of a mobile energy-storage scheme, detecting any pitfalls in it and offering concrete solutions
- Establish common standards, the basic requirement for an industrial-scale roll out.